It’s not just players who spend some of the winter months going overseas to learn and improve.
Assistant & Bowling Coach Jason Kerr has recently returned from a spell in New Zealand as he explained when we met with him this week. “I was very fortunate to have been able to spend just over three weeks with the Canterbury Kings,” he said. “I was there for their T20 competition and went with a few objectives. I was keen to see if we could learn anything from how they approach T20 cricket. Most importantly it was mainly about establishing a long-term link between the two clubs that could well be beneficial to us both when it comes to potential player or coach exchanges. It’s also important to do things like that from a personal development point of view.”
“One of the most rewarding parts of the trip was that I was able to observe other coaches and see how they go about their business as well as how the players reacted to their methods. It really reinforced some of my beliefs as well as challenging some too which I think is really important.”
As Jason explained, it was very much a hands on role: “It was straight in to practice on my first day there. They asked me to have a look at their bowlers and talk a little bit about tactics and game plans. That was quite challenging because I was dealing with new players in a new environment and staying away from the technical side of things. It meant that I had to build up an element of trust with the guys and that was a great experience.
“There’s obviously a great deal of similarities but I think that there are one or two things that we can look at implementing here and vice versa. It was certainly beneficial to both parties.”
Jason believes that it’s important for young players to go abroad during the winter to help improve their game. “There are huge benefits to going overseas during the close-season,” he said. “The players will have a fantastic time and they’ll learn a lot about themselves as people. They’ll learn to stand on their own two feet and start to become independent.”
What sort of work is Jason doing with the players at the moment? “At the moment we’ve got a few players in here training,” he said. “The Dutch and Scottish lads were getting ready for the Desert T20 whilst Craig and Jack and are getting ready for Lions tours. We’ve also got Jamie preparing for the England PEPPs Programme in South Africa whilst Lewis is getting ready for the North v South fixture, so everyone is at a different stages with different goals at different periods of the winter. It all very much depends on the individual.”
From speaking to him it is clear that Jason is still as enthusiastic about the Club as he was when he joined as a player back in 1993. “I still get the same buzz as I did when I was playing here,” he said. “I still get incredibly excited by that air of optimism that there always is when the squad comes back in the new year. We’re incredibly fortunate here because we have coaches working throughout the pathway. Matt Maynard, myself and the coaches all spend time with the Academy players and the guys on the Emerging Player Programme as well as with the First XI. That is so important.
“There are a lot of very good things happening here in Somerset at the moment. There’s a real buzz about the place and it’s importance that we maintain and build on the momentum of last season.”